Piazza: MLB mess 'unintended consequence' of game's new era




  • In Sports/Baseball
  • 2020-01-16 23:33:05Z
  • By BILL WHITEHEAD (Associated Press)

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. (AP) --

To Hall of Fame catcher Mike Piazza, the sign-stealing scandal that's enveloped Major League Baseball signals where the sport is these days.

"Unfortunately, it's an unintended consequence of the digital age and all this information," Piazza said.

Piazza was at the New York Mets' spring training complex on Thursday for a street naming ceremony, two hours before the team let go new manager Carlos Beltrán.

Beltrán was the third manager to lose his job this week in the wake of the cheating scheme by the Astros. Houston manager AJ Hinch was suspended by MLB and then fired by the club.

Alex Cora, the Astros' bench coach in their 2017 championship season, was ousted by the Red Sox. Beltrán was the only Houston player mentioned in MLB's report.

"I think it's a very sad episode for the game," Piazza said.

Piazza recalled his early days behind the plate in the big leagues.

"My first bench coach, Joe Amalfitano with the Dodgers, was 95 percent on pitchouts when I was catching. It would be uncanny. He would have the third base coach's signs, when they were going to steal or hit-and-run. And he would call the pitchout. He would watch them, but that's fair game."

"But obviously to use a camera and relay it to the dugout is something I can't relate to," he said. "Can you imagine if Nolan Ryan knew you were relaying his signs? You'd probably be missing a head."

The Mets held a dedication ceremony for Piazza, renaming a street on the renovated spring complex that serves as the home of the Advanced Class A St. Lucie Mets and hub for New York's rehabilitating players.

A 62nd-round selection in the 1988 June draft, Piazza said he was unaware of MLB's proposal to trim the draft down to about 20 rounds.

"Twenty rounds? I would have never been here today," Piazza replied with a laugh. "Look, one thing I know about baseball is that it's like college. If you have the grades, you're going to graduate. If you're talented and you are persistent and you sacrifice and do the right things, you'll eventually find a way to get there."

"The game is changing, there's no question about it. I feel like a dinosaur," the 51-year-old Piazza said.

The stretch of road on 31 Piazza Drive is a short one, but it stretched all the way to Sicily for Piazza.

"What a tremendous honor, especially being a resident of Florida the last 30 years," said Piazza, who teared up momentarily during his speech when recalling his ailing father, Vince.

Santa Lucia, the namesake of St. Lucie County, came from Syracuse in Sicily, the homeland of the Piazza family.

"I wish he was here today to see this because he's been such an inspiration in my career. He's not doing well health-wise … but he called me this morning and wanted to wish me the best," Piazza said.

The complex's main stadium will be renamed Clover Park next month after Fiserv purchased the naming rights. A year-long $57 million renovation project is scheduled to be completed once New York's pitchers and catchers report on Feb. 10.

---

More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

COMMENTS

More Related News

Column: No asterisk needed for most unusual baseball season
Column: No asterisk needed for most unusual baseball season

Defying all skepticism that this was nothing more than a watered-down money grab with little chance of reaching the finish line (yep, I'm raising my hand), Major League Baseball has pulled off its two-month sprint of a regular season amid the coronavirus pandemic. With the playoffs set to begin next week, the 60-game campaign of 2020 certainly deserves a place right alongside those 162-game, six-month-long marathons of past years. ''They're probably feeling like they would if they had played 162 games, really, with the mental drain and everything else that was on 'em,'' said Atlanta Braves manager Brian Snitker, who guided his team to a third straight NL East title.

Nationals
Nationals' Juan Soto, Max Scherzer among MLB's best-selling jerseys for 2020

The reigning World Series champion Nationals had two players finish among the top 10 best-selling MLB jerseys this season.

Rick Porcello gets the start as Mets face Nationals at 6:05 p.m. on SNY
Rick Porcello gets the start as Mets face Nationals at 6:05 p.m. on SNY

RHP Rick Porcello (1-6, 5.46 ERA) gets the start for the Mets as they face off against the Nationals and RHP Max Scherzer (4-4, 3.67 ERA) at 6:05 p.m.

What homefield advantage? Playoff bubbles will create
What homefield advantage? Playoff bubbles will create 'interesting month' for Dodgers

The Dodgers clinched homefield advantage throughout the postseason, but most players won't be living at home even for the wild-card round.

Buzz linking Oakland Athletics executive to Mets GM job: report
Buzz linking Oakland Athletics executive to Mets GM job: report

With the future of Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen murky as Sandy Alderson is poised to take over the team president role if Steve Cohen is approved as owner, a key Oakland Athletics executive is being linked to the GM job in Queens.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: Baseball